While the Maldives is considered a costly beach holiday destination, especially when compared to Thailand or neighbouring Sri Lanka, that is no reason for budget travellers to give it a miss. Although there is a decidedly high-end feel about touristic pursuits in the country, there are ways to enjoy a memorable vacation without breaking the bank. From timing the tour to choosing activities based on your budget, here are some practical ways to enjoy a Maldivian getaway on a shoestring budget.
Travel during the Shoulder Season
One of the easiest ways to holiday in the Maldives for less is to cut costs on big-ticket items such as flights and hotel accommodations. The peak tourist season in the Maldives falls between December and March and is understandably the most expensive time of the year to visit the island nation. The large influx of travellers means that everything from plane ticket prices to hotel rates all go up while tours and excursions in the country will also cost more. This is why it is best to avoid the peak travel season and opt for the shoulder season. Visiting the Maldives during the low season when monsoon rains are rampant is not a good idea as the bad weather conditions will make the getaway confined to indoor spaces. The shoulder season from late March to April is still sunny although the price tag on hotels and activities does lessen significantly.
Look for Deals or Stay Close to Male
When it comes to accommodation, those who travel during the shoulder season will find that rates at VARU by Atmosphere and similar rests might actually be affordable. There are a wide variety of all-inclusive hotels in Maldives that also offer package deals for a limited number of days. These are ideal for those who wish to explore the Maldives on a budget during a weekend to a 5-day period as the packages also include meals, activities and accommodation. Hotels and resorts close to Male also cost less than those in the outer atolls as there are homes that have been converted into guesthouses to take advantage of backpackers.
Sign up for Snorkelling Activities
Travellers will find that snorkelling is one of the most budget-friendly activities one can sign up for during a getaway in the archipelago. As nearly every island in the Maldives is surrounded by a house reef, there's no need to venture far or hire a speedboat to reach snorkelling hotspots such as HP Reef and Banana Reef.
Dine like a Local
Wining and dining in resort restaurants can also set one back quite a bit but those who are staying close to the nation's capital Male can make mealtimes an adventure by following the locals. As the only city in the Maldives, Male is home to the only street food hubs in the archipelago and also small restaurants where ordinary Maldivians can dig into local delicacies and traditional meals such as a bowl of Garudhiya soup or Mas Huni. Embracing the local dining experience not only allows travellers to savour authentic delicacies but also liberates them from the monotony of typical continental fare often found in upscale restaurants.
Spend Time in Male
Budget visitors need not skimp on sightseeing tours if they focus on Male and its cultural heritage. There are plenty of free parks and recreational hubs to enjoy including Republic Square and Sultan Park while the National Museum is also accessible for a nominal fee. Touring the Grand Friday Mosque is another free activity that tourists can sign up for in addition to a visit to the Islamic Centre and a shopping spree in local markets such as Chaandhanee Magu.